Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekend Links

If you’re looking to waste a little time during this holiday weekend, I’m here to help with these links:

There’s an entire video dedicated to Sean’s Ramblings for President. Unfortunately, the staff left a “/” in the graphics. Consider them fired!

Is anyone really surprised that the Steelers have the NFL’s best fans according to ESPN?

It looks like I made a good decision to see Neil Diamond in Washington as opposed to Columbus.

Since the Big Dig worked so well in Boston, there is talk of having one in Reston, Virginia too.

Congratulations to Ithaca College senior Revital ("Revi") Roza for winning Good Morning America’s intern superstar contest.

I’m a few days late to this but Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies interviews the Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik.

Finally, don’t forget to enter the Ted Marshall Open Television Death Pool. Entries must be submitted by tonight (August 31, 2008) at 11:59pm Eastern time.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Republicans Should Fear Eli Manning and Jason Campbell

After switching around from the Washington Redskins preseason game to the South Carolina-North Carolina State college football game, I turned to the Democratic National Convention to watch Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. Besides wanting to see his speech, the preseason game ended and I didn’t have that much interest in this particular college football game (particularly since South Carolina was winning big).

However, this got me thinking about next week. The Republican National Convention will end next Thursday night with John McCain’s acceptance speech. Next Thursday night also marks the beginning of the NFL season as the Washington Redskins face the New York Giants, a game that a millions of people care about as opposed to last night's games. Although the NFL and NBC moved the game to a 7:00pm Eastern Time start so it won't conflict with the speech, I think the Republican Party should be worried about the game exceeding three hours. If it is a close game after 10:00, there will be millions and millions of people who will stay with the game and not switch to see McCain’s speech. If that's the case, what will NBC do? They probably won't want to alienate viewers by switching away from the game and going to the convention (that worked so well with the Heidi game 40 years ago). What will the Republicans do? Will they delay the speech until the game ends? Will the NFL try to encourage coaches Jim Zorn and Tom Coughlin not to challenge plays to save time? Will NBC try to speed things along by showing fewer commercials? (That’s funny!) I guess the Republican Party should hope that both Manning and Campbell have excellent games with few incompletion passes so that the clock continues to move.

Let all of the conspiracy theories (both political and football) begin!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clothing for the Olympic Mom

What would you do after spending nearly two weeks in Beijing watching your son win eight gold medals with cameras fixated on you during every swimming event and having to deal with constant interviews by Cris Collinsworth? The answer: have a clothing line at Chico’s! Capitalizing on all things Phelps, Chico’s is now selling the Debbie Phelps Collection. With Michael Phelps receiving millions of dollars in endorsement deals, Mama Phelps may as well cash in too. I mean she has to support herself somehow, right?

The Phelps Collection includes a variety of jackets and jewelry, including this Persian Luster Zariah Jacket (whatever that is) on sale for only $55.99 from $118.

So get your Phelps collection clothing now! You don’t want to be the mother at your kid’s swim meet without a Debbie Phelps jacket. (I’m sure that Chico’s will use either this line or "Your kid won’t make the Olympics unless you have this jacket!" in its advertisements.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Capitals Ticket Increase

Since I moved to the Washington DC area several years ago, I have attended the Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins games whenever possible. There are thousands of other Pittsburgh transplants living in the area, so I have even arranged to buy group tickets through the Capitals for these games. For Capitals fans out there who aren’t happy about this arrangement of having Penguins fans buy tickets (that of course help pay the salaries of Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin and Cristobel Huet, I mean, Jose Theodore), you’ll be glad to know that there are generally a couple of token Caps fans as part of our group.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I contacted my Caps’ ticket representative about purchasing tickets for the Penguins-Capitals games for the 2008-2009 season. Unlike the past few years, where we would receive discounted tickets for purchasing in bulk, this is not the case anymore. Apparently, the Penguins games as well as several other games during the season (I believe the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers games, but I have not confirmed this) are now considered premium games. Therefore, not only are there no discounts for buying group tickets for the Penguins games, there is an additional cost of $15 per ticket. Furthermore, to purchase group tickets for the Penguins games, you would also have to buy group tickets for another non-premium game. So where last year tickets cost about $20 for a Pens-Caps game, you would now need to spend $65 for two games. While I would still consider paying the $65 for two games since I really enjoy watching Ovechkin play, I doubt that I can find enough people in my group who would be willing to spend this much when they really want to see Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins.

I would say that I’m upset about this ticket increase, but I understand that Ted Leonsis needs to make some money. It’s not just Leonsis as this is part of sports today. I saw the Cincinnati Bengals do this a few years ago when they finally got tired of seeing tens of thousands of Steelers fans in their home stadium. In addition, the Student Rush program for Penguins games in Pittsburgh has been cut back dramatically. Until the end of last season, the only Capitals games I have seen sell out since I moved here are the Penguins games, primarily because of the influx of Pittsburgh fans buying tickets. Now that the Capitals are good for the first time in years, they feel like they can force fans to spend money on games that won’t draw as well (ex. Florida Panthers). They may be right too. Any hockey fan in Washington wants to see the Capitals and Penguins in person, so they will sell out regardless of the price. I guess that I’m just a little disappointed seeing that I have purchased tickets for the Capitals for the past few years, and now that they finally made the playoffs, the prices are going up.

Update: Puck Daddy, the best hockey blog out there, has more about the ticket increase.

Ted Marshall Open Television Death Pool

Over the past few years, I have participated in a television death pool named for an actress "who had a proclivity of being on quickly canceled programs." Unfortunately, she apparently now has a lawyer, so the name has changed "despite the fact it ran for nearly eight years without "harming" her career." (The quotes are attributed to the creator of the Alison LaPlaca, I mean, Ted Marshall Open Television Death Pool).

As I’ve mentioned before, in my first year, I finished an impressive sixth place out of over 100 entries but finished in the middle of the pack last year. Although I’ve spent much of the past few days preparing for and participating in fantasy football drafts, I need to quickly shift my focus to see what television shows I think will be cancelled at the end of the 2008-2009 television season. Is this the year According to Jim finally dies (not Jim Belushi, just the show)? Do I think people will watch Christian Slater’s new show? Knight Rider is really coming back?

Anyway, if you enjoy television or have ever even watched television, feel free to enter the contest. All you need to do is select ten shows that you feel will get the ax. It’s fun and much harder than you would think. Entries are being taken until August 31st at 11:59 PM Eastern time. Good luck!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Final Olympic Notes

Whenever an American won a gold medal and the Star-Spangled Banner was played, I never saw or heard any athletes yell "O" during the next to last line. This includes Michael Phelps and Carmelo Anthony both originally from Baltimore. Do you know why? It is because the athletes respect the national anthem and what winning a gold medal means and do not want to act like buffoons representing their country.

Does American swimmer Katie Hoff ever go by simply The Hoff? If not, she should!

I know that this picture of the terrible towel in Beijing has been everywhere, but I still think it’s cool. There are a lot of comments about this on The Burgh Blog.

Yahoo provides 36 facts about the Olympic medal count.

Finally, what would an Olympic post be without a Ric Blas Jr. article? Blas reflected on the games with the Pacific Daily News.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Minor Break

I’m taking a break for a few days from writing on this blog, but I have an extremely important reason: fantasy football. I have a lot of research to do before my multiple league drafts.

By the way, if anyone has any suggestions on who to take with the #5 pick in a 12-team league; #7 pick in a 10-team league; or #11 pick in a 16-team league, or has any sleepers, please feel free to leave them in the comments.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vote for the Intern Superstar

Ithaca College senior Revital Roza's summer internship with "Good Morning America" may have an unexpected payoff. The ABC show is holding an "American Idol"-style contest pitting Roza and her funk-rock band The Rozatones - comprised of IC classmates - against a fellow intern. Go to ABC News website to vote for Roza simply because she is an Ithaca College student (and because she’s a talented musician, of course; seriously, she and the Rozatones sound really good).

You can also check out the Ithaca Journal for more information about Roza and the contest.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dara Torres vs Jerome Bettis

Mike Freeman of CBS Sportsline has a column about the Olympics which includes possibly the most amazing thing I have ever seen in print. Freeman writes, "Dara Torres is built like Jerome Bettis. She's not The Bus, she's The Submarine." Jerome Bettis is one of my favorite football players of all-time and has been just as impressive off of the field as on. However, look at these pictures and tell me how they’re built the same.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see it. Oh, they both have two shoulders and a belly button...that must be it! Please note that the picture of Jerome Bettis is from 1997 when he was 25. I don't believe that Bettis had the same physique during his final season in 2005. Meanwhile, the picture of Torres is from January 2008 at the age of 40. I'd bet dinner at Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 that he doesn't have abs like that at 40!

Dara Torres picture by Ronald Cadiz; Jerome Bettis photo by Gregory Heisler

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Game Time

The day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived. Ric Blas Jr.’s Olympic journey has reached its summit, um, how about peak, no, pinnacle (I like that). When I learned that Blas would be competing on Friday afternoon, I figured I might be able to get home from work in time to watch him live. Of course, I didn’t factor in that whole time difference thing. So even though Blas will meet Georgia’s Lasha Gujejiani at 1:06pm, that it 1:06AM here in the Eastern time zone. Although Blas and I have been Facebook friends for what seems like forever (or yesterday) and I’d like to interview him after the Olympics, don’t expect a live blog of judo’s men’s heavyweight division. I mean, I need to wake up by 6:45 to get to work! However, Blas may still be competing when I awake, so hopefully I’ll be able to watch him while eating my Lucky Charms or Honey Nut Cheerios.

I believe that you can watch Blas and all of the Olympic judo matches online at the NBC website.

To get you excited about Blas and his journey thus far, here are some new links:

Jojo Santo Tomas of Guam’s Pacific Daily News has been following Blas and all of Guam’s athletes throughout the Olympics. Here’s an excerpt from his latest article:

"The whole world's on my shoulders right now. It is a lot of pressure. For me to fail ... would be epic," [Blas] said. "So I'm gonna do my best and hopefully the people of Guam can understand that I had done my best to be where I am. I have done nothing but represent the island with all the love that I could ever give. And no matter what the outcome is, I hope that the people of Guam can still find some pride that I went out there and I fought the world's best fighters, and I had them all in mind when I was doing it."

Apparently inspired by my blog, ESPN and The Sydney Morning Herald have finally joined the Blas bandwagon. The SMH (as all of the kids call it) focuses on Blas’ weight:

At 215 kilograms, he is the heaviest athlete in Beijing. Despite undergoing a punishing training regime in past weeks in the hope of reaching the medal dais, the Guam representative has been putting on more weight in the lead-up to Olympic competition.

"I just eat anything really," he said yesterday. "I don't have a special diet, it's just whatever I feel like. I don't have any diet secrets. There's a lot of protein, a lot of beef and a lot of chicken."

There's also a lot of Ric Blas jnr. To put things in perspective, the hefty judoka weighs nearly six times more than Australian diver Melissa Wu.

Meanwhile, ESPN found Richad Wyttenbach-Santos, Blas’ grandfather-in-law. Following the theme I continue to see and hear about Blas, Wyttenback-Santos said, "He's a sweet kid. Modest. Sweet kid. If he got a medal, he would be the best known athlete in Guam for the next generation."

Despite the probability that I’ll be asleep during Blas’ matches, I’ll try to post updates about how Ric performs.

Go Ric!

Update 8/15 6:50AM Eastern time

You are able to watch Friday’s judo matches and see the results on this portion of the NBC Olympic website by clicking "rewind."

The Ricardo Blas Jr. match against Georgia's Lasha Gujejiani starts just after the 1:21:30 mark.

My thoughts after watching the match: Within the first few seconds, I realize that I know nothing about judo. From an outsider perspective, it looks like both fighters grab on to their opponents’ uniform and then try to trip them.

With 14 seconds left, the judge decides it’s time for both competitors to re-tie their belts. After this is completed, the judge makes some hand-signals and declares Gujejiani the winner. Did Blas not tie his belt quickly enough? Why did the judge call it with 14 seconds remaining? The NBC graphic shows Gujejiani as winner by Sogo-Gachi. Anyone know what this means?

I believe that this is a double-elimination tournament, so Blas faces Daniel McCormick of the United States in the Repechage Round 2. This match begins at the 3:33:00 mark.

The match seems even relatively even, but Blas tires at the end and McCormick capitalizes by pushing Blas out of the “ring” several times. I don’t understand the scoring system, but I believe that McCormick earns a point for doing this.

McCormick is the winner by Keikoku. Anyone know what this means?

It’s too bad that Blas didn’t win any matches, but I think he definitely represented himself and Guam well.

Historic Milestone

We interrupt our coverage of Ric Blas at the Olympics to mark a significant date in Sean’s Ramblings history. One year ago today, I waited over five hours at the grand opening of California Tortilla to win free burritos for a year. (Is it possible to use any more prepositions in these last two sentences?) I’ll have a full report about my experiences sometime soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ric Blas Jr Update

After I wrote about Ric Blas Jr., the Guam Olympian competing in judo, long-time reader and friend Messiah told me that Blas is the new Kevin Pittsnogle of Sean’s Ramblings (search Pittsnogle on this site to see how much I wrote about him in the early days of this blog). Therefore, as the unofficial blog of Blas, I thought I would share some updates about his experiences in Beijing.

Blas will face Lasha Gujejiani of Georgia sometime late Friday afternoon in the Men's Heavyweight (100+kg/220+ lbs) preliminaries. A commenter in my original post wrote that his match will take place at 9pm PST, but I have not been able to verify this anywhere else online. I really hate rooting against a Georgian athlete since the country is at war, but I’m still pulling for Ric.

According to the Pacific Daily News, which states that although NBC broadcasters at the Opening Ceremonies cited Blas as the heaviest competitor at the Games at 399 pounds, Blas is actually 440 pounds, both competitors are the same height, but Gujejiani weighs 220 pounds. Just because Blas is double the weight of his opponent, he says being heavier doesn’t matter.

"Based on experience, skill and how much you want it, it's not that difficult to throw someone much heavier than you. Judo was created for that very reason and in the beginning, there were no weight classes," said Blas. "We have all qualified and earned our way here, so we'll just have to see what happens. I've been training hard and doing my best to condition. Win or lose, I have done my best to prepare for this."

Blas talks about his experiences as Guam’s flag-bearer and walking into the stadium.

"It was an awesome experience. When we walked through that tunnel into the stadium, I saw more people in one place than I've ever seen in my life," Blas said. "My first thoughts were 'Could this really be?' I was shocked. I just wanted to wave that Guam flag high and smile. The world was watching."

Did you know that Blas, the Oceania Games super-heavyweight judo champion, has sacrificed every summer during the past eight years to go off island (Guam) for training? He even lived in Japan for a year in high school to focus on judo. Well, now you know.

Although there is not a bio of Blas on either the Yahoo or NBC Olympic websites, the latter does include a brief video showing Blas in action.

Go Ric!

Update 8/14: There's more coverage of Ric Blas on this blog here and here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ketchup Slide

Continuing with a food theme today, the video below is from the ketchup slide competition at the 20th Annual Hamburger Festival in Seymour, Wisconsin. This is a great use for Hunt’s ketchup, a significantly inferior ketchup as compared to Heinz.

There are a few more videos and pictures available here. No word if the Hamburglar attended the festival.

Hopefully Not New Coke

One of the items always on my grocery store list is Dannon Light & Fit yogurt. Whether it is actually true or not, I feel like I’m eating healthier when I have one. I guess it is a healthier alternative than what I used to eat with my lunch, a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll.

During this week’s trip to Wegmans, I noticed that Dannon Light & Fit yogurt had a new lid with the tagline "Great New Taste!" Excuse me, but I like the old taste. The cherry vanilla is probably my favorite but peach and raspberry also vie for the #1 seed. Anyway, although I haven’t yet tried the new yogurt, I thought I would compare the old version to the new one. Please note that this is for Dannon’s raspberry flavor.

60 calories
0% fat
Sodium - 95 mg (4%)
Total Carbohydrate - 11g (4%)
Sugars - 7g
Calcium - 20%

80 calories
0% fat
Sodium - 75 mg (3%)
Total Carbohydrate - 16g (5%)
Sugars - 11g
Calcium - 15%

Unlike the calorie count forum, I’m not all that concerned about the extra 20 calories. I just want to make sure the yogurt still tastes good. At this point, I’m a little skeptical.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Olympic Links

The guy pictured to the right is Ricardo "Ric" or "R.J." Blas Jr., an Olympian representing Guam in judo. I’m not kidding. Seriously, they really do have judo in Guam! According to Bob Costas during the opening ceremonies where he (Ric, not Bob) was the flag-bearer for Guam, Ric may be the heaviest athlete in Olympics history. Unlike Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnast who won five gold medals, Ric has a MySpace page, which includes many pictures of Ric in action (judo and otherwise). If there’s one person I want to do well in Beijing, it’s Ric, particularly since he could pummel me if I get on his bad side. Here’s a little more about Blas from Guam’s Pacific Daily News (as opposed to Guam’s Atlantic Daily News).

Update 8/14: There's more coverage about Blas on this blog here and here.

Bat-El Gaterer, competing in Taekwondo, is the only religious member of the Israeli delegation. Besides answering some questions about whether or not she would compete on Shabbat, this may be my favorite portion of the interview:

Q: But isn’t [practicing with boys] problematic for you in terms of "negiah" (banned physical contact with the opposite sex)?

A: "No. It’s a kicking match. I don’t see it as problematic."

Tuvalu, the fourth smallest country in the world (larger than only the Vatican City, Monaco and Nauru) at 10 square miles and less than 12,000 people, consists of nine islands located approximately half-way between Hawaii and Australia. Tuvalu is also one of the three countries that are participating in the Olympics for the first time. I was hoping to find some fun article about this fact, but according to The Guardian, apparently, "rising sea levels are causing [the] tiny island nations to sink and maybe one day disappear." At least they are selling Olympic stamps!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Neil Diamond Concert Review: A Strange Craigslist Experience

There’s some type of saying involving a journey and destination. That the journey is more important or something. I’m not exactly sure. Anyway, here’s a story about both.

Earlier this week, I pleaded with anyone out there to give me free or reduced tickets for Neil Diamond’s DC concert. Shockingly, there was no response. However, my wife decided that it would be her mission to try to find me tickets. Enter Craigslist. After several inquiries, she arranged to purchase tickets through someone named Adam. (This is not his real name; actually, it is his real name). Although the face value of the two tickets was $85 each (not including the almost $15 each in Ticketmaster fees), we reached an agreement on Monday evening to buy them for $50 each.

This is where things get strange. On Tuesday morning, Adam sent an e-mail to my wife stating that he received a bid for the tickets for $56 each and wanted us to go higher. He also offered us an alternative: we could get tickets for different seats for free. Adam wrote, "The only catch to it you have to get me messy. Saturday or Sunday and you pick a location." This is/was extremely disturbing. Was this something sexual or illegal? Four minutes later, he wrote my wife again. "Ignore the messy part but you have to toilet paper my house if you want the J tickets it is free this mean tickets are free. If you are going to do it." It was at this time that I decided to call Adam to let him know that we already made an agreement for Row G tickets for $100. I had no idea what I would say about toilet papering his house, but figured that I wouldn’t say anything if he didn’t say anything. Fortunately, I got his voicemail and left a message.

About 20 minutes later, Adam e-mailed my wife apologizing for the confusion and confirming the $100, row G seats. Adam and I actually talked around lunch, and although he wanted me to meet him outside of Will Call around 5:00 (since he works down there he said), we decided to meet at 7:00. My wife sent me an e-mail with only three words: Was he normal? I replied that he sounded a little odd but that we had a deal.

Fast-forward to around 7:00. I called Adam to let him know that I was on the Metro and would be a few minutes late. He then proceeded to call almost every two minutes asking for a status report. I finally approached Will Call having no idea what to expect. In my mind, I was prepared to punch him if he tried to raise the price. Plus I was curious what kind of person wants someone he doesn’t know to get him messy or toilet paper his house. As I arrived, I called Adam to see where/who he was. After 20 seconds, I found him. Adam is a kid. He couldn’t have been older than 13 and his parents were standing right behind him. Why was he odd on the phone and in e-mails? Because he’s a kid. I still don’t understand the toilet paper thing, and I wasn’t going to ask. A few questions did pop into my mind. Why is a 13 year-old selling tickets on Craigslist? What kind of job does he have since he’s clearly under 16? Regardless, the fact that he was a kid, was probably using the cash to supplement his Bar Mitzvah money and was with his parents alleviated my concerns.

As for the concert itself, I enjoyed it. It was vintage Neil Diamond. There were no pyrotechnics; just Neil and a 14-piece band. The Washington Times has a full review of the show, but here are a few notes:

- When The Washington Times writes in its review, "Good as they were - and they were superb - the new songs met with only polite applause; the audience really was there for the favorites," they are being nice. Since there was no intermission, many people used the new songs for a bathroom break.

- Cherry, Cherry, Cracklin’ Rosie, Forever in Blue Jeans and, of course, Sweet Caroline were the highlights of the show.

- I wish I could pull off wearing the shirts that Neil wears.

- You Don’t Bring Me Flowers was a show-stopper and not in a good way. I believe Neil performed this immediately after Sweet Caroline when the crowd was at its loudest. The place got quiet quickly. The only way to make Flowers good would have been to have Barbara Streisand come out or for Neil to have said, "Ladies and Gentlemen: Avril Lavigne" or "Beyonce" or "Alanis Morissette." Instead, it was one of the back-up singers who Neil is probably sleeping with.

- After over 40 years in the music industry, Neil Diamond still has an amazing voice.

- Neil also has an extremely deep catalog. Even by performing many of his biggest hits, he did not sing Red, Red Wine, Heartlight, or Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.

Overall, great show! If you don’t believe me, check out these blogs: Come on Elleen, Life and times of Me and Angelica of Shifting Winds

Update: The Washington Post also has a review of the concert.

Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Washington Times

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Chicago Notes

Why do people, more specifically, women, dress up to go shopping? I would think that you would want to dress comfortably and wear clothes that are easy to take on and off in case you would like to try on new clothes at the stores. Is this a Pretty Woman thing (meaning that a "nice" store wouldn’t want your business if you’re not dressed well)?

I saw a billboard for Chicago’s True Oldies radio station 94.7, which simply stated Monkees, Stones, Aretha. Now I like the Monkees (I’m sure that you are shocked by this statement based on my recent Neil Diamond posts), but they really don’t belong in the same class as The Rolling Stones or Aretha Franklin. The Oldies station may want to include The Beatles on its next billboards.

I ate dinner at an Italian restaurant in my fancy Chicago hotel and noticed something odd. There was a living fly stuck inside the parmesan cheese container on my table. I pointed it out to my waiter who looked confused when I asked him to remove the cheese. When I showed him the fly, he just said oh, and quickly took it away. There was no more discussion about the fly or the cheese. I should also mention that this dinner took place before the sprinkler issue.

Finally, I spent four days in Chicago and never make it to a Cubs game. Couldn’t the team schedule one game a series at night?

It's nice to be home!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Neil Diamond Tickets Wanted

This is extremely last minute, but if anyone has an extra ticket or two for tomorrow night’s Neil Diamond concert at the Verizon Center, please let me know. I would be happy to take free tickets from you or pay you well below the actual ticket price. I certainly understand if you don’t want to sell/give tickets to a non-Neil Diamond fan. To prove that I am a real Diamond fan, just read this.

To encourage someone to give me free tickets, I will allow the enormously generous individual, no, PHILANTHROPER an opportunity to write a guest entry right here at Sean’s Ramblings. That’s got to be worth much more than the cost of the Neil Diamond tickets!

Feel free to contact me at seanramblings at yahoo[dot]com if you are serious about selling/giving me tickets. Please note that I will be without internet access until late Monday night. I’m sure that my begging will cause my inbox to be filled.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Greetings from Chicago

So I’m at my fancy Chicago hotel where internet service costs $13+ per day. On Saturday afternoon, I was talking to my wife on the phone about the day. I tell her that I am waiting in line to talk to the hotel staff about a problem I am having with my room. Her response: "Did you stuff up the toilet?" I love my wife!

For the record, my toilet was fine unlike other trips I have taken over the years. Apparently, my upstairs neighbor decided to hang a shirt on one of the sprinkler heads. Not a good idea. When I returned to my room on Friday night, I noticed that the entryway was wet. The hotel’s assistant manager called me about a half hour later to see if I noticed the problem and offered to move me to a new room. Since it was already after 10:00pm, I had unpacked and it really didn’t bother me (as long as I didn’t walk barefoot or in socks to the closet), I decided to stay. The assistant manager said that housekeeping staff and/or maintenance would take care of everything the next morning.

When I stopped by my room after lunch on Saturday, I noticed that although my room had been cleaned, the carpet was still wet. That’s when I went to the front desk. When I returned to my room again even later in the afternoon, I found that the hotel brought me a fan. However, they didn’t actually plug in the fan and the nearest outlet was no where near the entryway. I called the assistant manager again asking for an extension cord, and he said that he would handle it, which the hotel finally did at least two hours later. The fan is currently running, as it did all night, and the area is slowly drying out. For Friday’s inconvenience, the hotel "comped" my room for a night. The free hotel room serves as justification for me to pay $13 for internet service, which is why I am sharing my story with you today!